Review for: Transformers – More Than Meets The Eye #9: “Shadowplay”
As Transformers – More Than Meets The Eye kicks off its 9th issue, I’m
beginning to feel like this series is finding its feet, or, rather, regaining them after a weird
diversion involving a Spark Eater. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t worry – I
read it, and it doesn’t mean anything to me, either. I’m just joking, it’s obvious what a
Spark Eater is in a Transformers story, but that’s not what I’m looking for in my giant-
transforming-robots book, let alone this particular Transformers ongoing, which
promised to be about the adventures of the crew of the Lost Light, a spaceship full of
Transformers seeking out their ancestors, The Knights of Cybertron.
I was lucky enough to get “Cover B” by Nick Roche, long-time Transformers
artist, which features an awesome robo-noir rendering of Optimus Prime – I beg your
pardon, Orion Pax – holding his gun like a secret agent and ducking through some
shadows. Pure awesome!
The issue, as it plays out, is a tale told by many, for the benefit of one, though
none of the storytellers knew they held the databank entries that would fit together in this
grander tapestry of tale when they started. It’s actually Rewind, a historian-bot, and
his “Sociotemporal Hotspot” diagram, that sets us off passing the hot-potato-of-
storytelling, for the benefit of Rung, a shell-shocked Autobot who needs the mental
exercise of bridging narrative gaps to accelerate his cyberbrain’s healing process.
According to Rewind, “four million years ago, thanks to one Autobot, [everyone
assembled] came within each other’s orbit,” and the rest of the issue sets out to discover
who that Autobot was, and how that proximity came about. Obviously (and this isn’t a
spoiler, since the story doesn’t exactly conclude by the end of the issue), that Autobot is
Optimus Prime, or, as he’d’ve been known back in the day, Orion Pax – a name he takes
when, in The Death of Optimus Prime One Shot, which takes place directly before the
start of this ongoing, he leaves Cybertron in search of The Knights of Cybertron, himself.
I’m not going to go into detail about the various elements of the story, nor who
tells them and how – that would just ruin your enjoyment of the book. What I’ll say
instead is that it’s an excellent storytelling technique that can easily turn sour for any
number of reasons, but James Roberts hangs tough, returning us to the present, where the
events depicted are simply a tale being told, enough to maintain our attention. Often a
story of times past can seem a bit pointless – we’re all here, now, in perfect health – it
must’ve worked out ok, right? The returns to a bar scene and robotic camaraderie keep
the story lively, as do the individual voices of the different cast members, voices Roberts
has spent 8 issues lovingly fleshing out. This issue is a serious payoff for that, as this is
another element that really enlivens this told-tale.
Finally, we’re brought back to “real life,” as Red Alert’s body is discovered
floating in The Lost Light’s oil reservoir. So, next week, the told-tale will continue – but
the current-times action will move forward as well! Roll out!